A new poll released by the Critical Insights marketing group of Portland concludes that nearly half of all Mainers surveyed believe the forest products industry remains vital to the state's economy.
"We just wanted to culminate all those stories into the findings of our research question that we put out there, just to show people that we indeed are a big part of the economic engine of Maine," said Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council.
Stauch said Wednesday that despite the closure of five pulp or paper mills between 2014 and 2016, Mainers are confident about the role forest products play in the state's economy and on the growth of new businesses in the industry.
"We've got a lot of baby boomers who are retiring so, strategically as a state, the forest industry is going to be here, and we need to make sure we're supplying it with well-trained people going forward," Strauch said.
The Critical Insights poll was conducted last month. It included 619 respondents who were surveyed online or by phone, and it carried a 3.9 percent margin of error. 44 percent of those polled said the forest products industry is very important to the state's economy, compared to 41.7 percent in 2009.